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Mallards split series with Eau Claire

The Mallards finished off their most recent road trip Tuesday night with a 6-3 victory over the Eau Claire Express. The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Mallards, as they head back to the Duck Pond for a four-game homestand. The Mallards improve to 7-5 overall on the season as the Express fall to 5-7. Madison has taken three of four games from Eau Claire in the early part of the 2007 season.

The Mallards got on the board first in the fourth inning, as Brandon Wikoff reached first on a beautiful bunt to begin the inning. Wikoff advanced to second on an unassisted groundout by Bobby Hubbard. Daniel Webb then reached on a Jonathan Merritt error, scoring Webb.

Eau Claire would respond in the fifth. First baseman Joe Bonfe was hit by a pitch to start the inning and scored on a Pat Colwell single to center field to tie the ballgame. In the sixth, outfielder Kole Calhoun doubled to left and then advanced to third on a Scott Heitshusen wild pitch. Devin Lohman would give the Express the lead with a sacrifice fly that scored Calhoun.

The Mallards would tie the game in the seventh, as Eric Nielsen lead off the inning with a single to left field. Michael Hubbard would supply back-to-back hits with a double into right field. With Nielsen on third, Mitch Saum flied out deep to left field, bringing in Nielsen to tie the game at two.

After holding the Express scoreless in the bottom half of the seventh, the Mallards broke the game wide open in the eighth with three runs. Brandon Wikoff walked to open the eighth and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Neil Medchill, who has hit over .350 against the Express hit a ground-rule double to center, Wikoff scored, giving the Mallards a 3-2 lead. Daniel Webb continued his success at the plate with a single that just got into right field scoring Medchill. Webb later stole second and advanced to third. With two outs, Mitch Saum forced Mike LaLuna to make an error at third base, scoring Daniel Webb.

Eau Claire would pick up one more run in the bottom half of the eighth, and the Mallards added some insurance in the top of the ninth with a Daniel Webb sacrifice fly which scored Bobby Hubbard.

Bubba O’Donnell entered the game in the eighth and shut down the Express to close out the game and pick up his second save of the season. Allan Donato (pictured), who relieved Heitshusen in the seventh, earned his first victory of the season, evening his record at 1-1. Scott Heitshusen threw six solid innings for the Mallards, allowing two earned runs on five hits.

In front of an Eau Claire crowd of 1,795, starting Express pitcher Joe Ganzen went 7.1 innings of work, allowing seven hits and striking out four. However, he did not receive much support in the field, as the Express had three errors in the field. Three of the six runs that the Mallards collected were unearned.

The Mallards begin a two-game set against Green Bay starting Wednesaday at the Duck Pond — first pitch 7:05 pm. Eau Claire faces La Crosse in a two-game set starting on Wednesday as well.

Fans, be sure to join us Wednesday, June 13, as the Mallards take on the Green Bay Bullfrogs. It’s U.S. Cellular Dancin’ Maynard G. Mallard bobblehead night! Maynard is dancin’ like it’s 1999 and wants to see you at the Duck Pond! Are you over 21 years old? Then get ready to receive a Red Hook and Genna’s Cocktail Lounge pint glass.

On June 14th, ESPNU! Will be broadcasting the Mallards ball game nationally against Green Bay!

Great seats are still available for all four games during next week’s homestand and can be purchased by visiting mallardsbaseball.com or calling 246.4277.